An interesting field of 10 will contest the $59,400 Native Dancer Handicap at Bowie today, with On The Sly, Go Go Roger and Chati likely to command the most respect at the parimatuel windows.
The distance is 1 1/6 mile and serves as a lucrative tuneup for the $100,000-added John B. Campbell Handicap on Bowie's closing card March 19.
On The Sly finished third to Turn And Count in his last appearance, the Grey Lag Handicap at Aqueduct last Saturday. Today marks the 4-year-old colt's first appearance in Maryland this season following an excellent campaign in 1976 during which he earned $137.978.
Go Go Roger will be the stronger half of an entry saddled by trainer King Leatherbury. Dare To Command is the running mate. Go Go Roger is bidding for his third straight victory, having captured the Ramcocas Handicap at Garden State Park on Feb. 19 and an allowance race at Bowie the previous week.
In that allowance event Go Go Roger defeated Chati by a half-length, conceding Chati four pounds. Today the imposts are even the two runners sharing high weight of 120 pounds, reflecting the fact that Chati was impressive at Bowie last Saturday in winning a prep for the Native Dancer.
On The Sly gets in under 115 pounds. Completing th lineup are Jolly John 112 pounds: Surely Royal 110: Festive Mood 118: Resound 113 and Ripon 112.
Gregg McCarron rides On The Sly.His brother Chris has the mount on Chati. No jockey was named overnight for Go Go Roger.
Festive Mood, the '76 Campbell victor, is making his first start of the year. The 8-year-old gelding has not completed since Dec. 1, when he was fourth in the Stuyvesant Handicap at Aqueduct. Festive Mood has earned more than $300,000 the last two seasons.
Ripon appears to be particularly dangerous at the weights. The Ribocco gelding had not started in nearly four months when he ran fourth to Chati in last week's prep. hanging through the final yards just when it appeared he might take first money.That effort could have him in excellent shape for the Native Dancer.